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The Car Coach: Tips for protecting yourself from carjackers

Written By | Feb 8, 2021
The Car Coach, Car Jackings, carjackers

Carjackings or the robbery of a car by the threat of force by carjackers- or thieves are increasing  Carjackings are becoming epidemic and it’s not just happening in certain cities it’s happening everywhere, at gas stations, and even in parking lots in apartment complexes. We’re starting to see it more and more and you need to be aware of your situation of what’s going on around you and we’re gonna show you some carjackings and some tips so this doesn’t happen to you.

There are simple steps you can take to further avoid being a victim of a carjacking. Much of the prevention is simply the awareness of the threat and thinking about what you would do if something happened.

Fear shouldn’t rule your life, but you should always be aware of your security and surroundings the same way you keep an eye on the road. Pay attention to who and what is around you. Trust your gut. If you feel threatened or alarmed, be cautious and stay alert.

Have a plan

Plan ahead and think about your reactions to “what if” scenarios. What you would do if the car in front of you slammed on the brakes, or if a threatening person approached your car while stopped at a traffic light? The most obvious and simple way to avoid a carjacking is to keep your car doors and windows closed and locked.

The carjacker is counting on the element of surprise, but you can counter the attack if you have your own surprise. A quick response to his advance, such as hitting the gas and getting away. Again, trust your instincts.  For such a response to a carjacker to be effective, it must be sure and fast.

Other proactive measures to prevent a carjacking:

Keep computers, cellphones, purses, wallets, and other valuables on the floor of the car and out of sight

Avoid contact with pedestrians and other drivers, including eye contact.

Be aware of your surroundings.  Do not play the radio loudly

Do not roll your window down for anyone except those you know and confirmed law enforcement officers. A real police officer will allow you to drive to the nearest police station or busy gas station.

Keep your cellphone ready to call 911 if necessary.  Many phones have the ability to have an “SOS”  button on the lock screen.  On the iPhone, the SOS appears when you initiate the shutdown of the phone.

Secure Yourself

Your car is only one aspect of a carjacking. There are several steps you can take personally to make yourself safer and less likely to be a victim of a carjacking:

Be ready to get in or out of your vehicle when parking and leaving the car. Don’t stand around with the door open while you fiddle with keys or a cell phone.

Be aware of who is around when pulling into a parking lot or garage. If you see someone that makes you wary, move on. Better to be late.

Walk from offices or other buildings to vehicles in pairs or larger groups. Or find a security guard to assist you if available.

Look around your car briefly, including under it, before getting in or out.  It is not silly to have a mirror on a “stick.”

Avoid places where you are isolated and alone.

When approaching your car

Do not unlock your car using the remote FOB from a long distance.  It makes an easy opportunity for carjackers to enter your car.

Add or remove items from your trunk quickly.  Do not open your trunk from inside the car, but as you

Always park in well-lit and high-traffic areas.  Walking to, or away, from a parked car, carry your keys in your fist, with the keys sticking out between your fingers.  Can make an effective weapon if necessary.

Common sense can go a long way to protecting you, your passengers, and your vehicles.

By taking a few extra steps and precautions, and always being prepared to act, you can avoid being a victim.


We all have a tendency to get into our cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just stay in the vehicle checking our cell phone. This makes you a target!


If the predator is watching you, this is the perfect opportunity for a carjacker to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.

Being cautious isn’t just something women should know. Men are victims of carjackers as well and need to be aware of their surroundings as well.

Every day we read and hear about horrifying situations like carjackings, muggings, and other crimes. Most of us think that this could “never happen to me.” It could happen to anyone.

Read More from The Car Coach – Lauren Fix


Carjacking of parked vehicles depends on the car owner being inattentive to their surroundings. Carjackers, like street robbers, prefer the element of surprise. Most victims say they never saw the carjacker until they appeared at their car door. To reduce your risk of being carjacked, remember ome common-sense steps below:

  • Always park in well-lighted areas, if you plan to arrive/leave after dark
  • Don’t park in isolated or visually obstructed areas near walls or heavy  foliage
  • Use valet parking or an attended garage, if you’re driving alone
  • As you walk to your car be alert to suspicious persons sitting in cars
  • Ask for a security escort if you are alone at a shopping center
  • Watch out for people loitering in the area or handing out flyers, CD’s, etc.)
  • If someone tries to approach, change direction or run to a busy store
  • Follow your instincts if they tell you to walk/run away to a busy place
  • As you approach your vehicle, look under, around, and inside your car
  • If safe, open the door, enter quickly, and lock the doors
  • Don’t be a target by turning your back while loading packages into the car.
  • Make it your habit to always start your car and drive away immediately
  • Teach and practice with your children to enter and exit the car quickly
  • Always drive with your car doors locked and windows rolled up
  • If you are bumped in traffic, drive to a busy well-lit area or a police station – be suspicious of the accident
  • Beware of the Good Samaritan who offers to repair your car or a flat tire. It’s okay to get help, just be alert and call someone or text the license plate of the other car to a friend.
  • If you are ever confronted by an armed carjacker don’t resist, look to escape, and give them the car.
  • Give up your keys or money if demanded without resistance Don’t argue, fight or chase the robber. You can be seriously injured
  • Never agree to be kidnapped. Throw the cars keys and run and scream for help
  • If you are forced to drive, consider crashing your car near a busy intersection to attract attention so bystanders can come to your aid and call the police
  • Call the police immediately to report the crime and provide detailed information.
  • Take your earphones out of your ears when pumping gas, or walking to and from your vehicle.
  • Keep your cellphone, in your hand or easy to grab in an emergency.
  • When returning a rental car that needs to be refueled; be aware, this is an easy target for carjackers as they get the bonus of your luggage and the vehicle.
  • If you own a firearm or have a concealed carry permit, be aware of your state laws. Use of your weapon may have restrictions that could get you in trouble too.
Bottom Line:

You must have SITUATIONAL AWARENESS to avoid carjackers! Keep your eyes and ears open when out of the car. If confronted with a person with a gun – give up the car. Cars can be replaced – you can not.

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Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.